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Osteomalacia is characterised by loss of skeletal mass as a consequence of inadequate mineralisation of the organic bone matrix or osteoid.

It is the adult counterpart of rickets. The most common cause is a defect in vitamin D metabolism.

Osteomalacia may be difficult to discriminate clinically from other osteopenias - osteoporosis, osteitis fibrosa, and certain of the stages of Paget's disease; however, biochemically osteomalacia is the only osteopenia in which mineralisation is reduced.

Last reviewed 01/2018